Peter Lebeck Chapter #1866

The Kern County Chapter of E Clampus Vitus ®
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Come Friday, April 17, 2015

The Brothers of PXL Invite You to Join Us

For a Weekend at the Top of the Grapevine

As We Return to Fort Tejon State Park!


The establishment of Fort Tejon by the United States Army in the 1850's, recognized the strategic importance of the Grapevine Pass: the mountain gateway between the great Central Valley of California to the north and Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert to the south and east. Despite being at an elevation of 3500 feet, the availability of water year round made this the ideal place for a military base perched at the edge of a desert, and particularly at a time when horse mounted "dragoons" were necessary for the protection of settlers and to keep the peace among the native populations. Even today, this spot is so critical to the economy of California that a snowfall, or for that matter, a traffic accident on Interstate 5, can mean a detour of 200 miles.

But back in the 1850's, Fort Tejon was no less an important hub for all kinds of human activity passing though the region. At one point it even became home to a herd of camels abandoned by a disgruntled government contractor who had brought the imported dromedaries from Texas to California, and then returned them to Uncle Sam by leaving them at the fort.

Fort Tejon.

Fort Tejon is also the 1857 historical reference point for what is estimated to have been the worst earthquake along the San Adreas Fault in recorded history. Possibly as large as a 7.9, and felt from Stockton to San Diego, the Fort Tejon Earthquake ruptured an area 225 miles long from Parkfield to San Bernardino, and created displacements as large as 21 feet.

For the Peter Lebeck Chapter of E Clampus Vitus, Fort Tejon also has special meaning as the resting place of our namesake and Clampatriarch, Peter Lebeck, who was killed by what was probably a (rather p_ssed off) Grizzly Bear on October 17, 1837. So you see, for such a relatively small place, tucked into a canyon alongside Interstate 5, the place has lots of history and significance, and if you are lucky you too can get a taste of this history. Today Fort Tejon is an Historical State Park. Some of the old buildings have been beautifully reconstructed and preserved, and the parade ground has become a lawn surrounded by Canyon Oaks and rolling hills.

Fort Tejon.

The Brothers of Peter Lebeck last clamped Fort Tejon in the Spring of 2013, and we are often asked about going back to the Fort to reaffirm our roots. The Clampground is in the canyon behind the historical area. It has water, shade and latrines. And whether you are driving a bus or driving a set of tent pegs, we can easily accommodate you, but space is limited so make sure to put your reservation in early.

Fort Tejon has its own I-5 offramps, and access to the Clampsite is up a short service road that takes you out back behind the fort's historic buildings. The Clampsite is bordered by a large parking lot which is RV friendly, so long you don't park on the sprinklers, and if you want to pitch a tent, there is plenty of space among the oaks. So Brothers, won't you please join us? You won't regret this. Fort Tejon is a peaceful place with plenty of ambiance and je ne sais quoi -- which in Pete's case turned out not to be such a mystery afterall.

We'd be honored to have you join us, and you'll be glad you did. To find out more, just go to our Spring 2015 Doin's Page where you can get a copy of our infallible fillable flyer, sign-up electronically for our doin's, and find a link to Google Maps.

To read about Clamping with Peter Lebeck in Kern County, just read on.

Hey, Pete? Now you gotta worry about plaque russlers!



Kern County is a big place and it covers all kinds of terrain: from the driest portions of the Mojave Desert, to the snowiest pine forests of the Sierra Nevada; from the oak woodlands of Walker Basin to the still wild grasslands of the San Joaquin Valley. Then of course there is Fort Tejon, Pine Mountain, the Kern River Valley, the Tehachapis, and…you get the drift. Kern County IS a BIG and interesting place.

Walker Basin Clampout.

And needless to say, we do try to get around. So if you are looking for something different, always make sure to look us up when you are planning your Clamping Calendar. If you've Clamped the desert, try the mountains. If you've Clamped the mountains, try the desert. But always make an effort check with us because we may be going someplace you'd really, really enjoy, and we do get around.

PXL Clampouts are not so large that you'll ever feel lost, and not so small that you'll ever feel like you're crashing someone's private party. Brothers visiting from other chapters are always made to feel welcome, and we especially encourage you to drop by if you live in Kern County or the adjoining areas of southern and central California.

Inyokern Clampout.

At Peter Lebeck we plan two, full-weekend Clampouts every year, one in the spring and the other in the fall, and we favor overnight outings because we believe it is the surest way to make sure that each of our Brothers makes it home safely. At Peter Lebeck we also believe that Clamping is as much about plaquing as it is about camping and camaraderie, so we try to mount at least one erection every year and we try to Clamp near by. So won't you join us for the adventure? We'll make sure you get an extra helping of Timbo's beans.


Rankin Ranch, Walker Basin.


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